Resetting the Table (RTT) invites applications for our celebrated 6-month training intensive in facilitating courageous conversations across political divides. In today’s polarized environment, few spaces exist for meaningful communication across differences of background and views. Through this program, we are building a cohort of practitioners to support meaningful, productive conversations on Israel and other charged issues. We are especially looking for educators, mediators, and other professionals with prior facilitation experience and/or skill.
This program offers one of the most rigorous facilitation trainings in the country, an opportunity to learn Resetting the Table’s celebrated methodology, and extensive live practice with individualized coaching. Upon completion of the program, participants will be eligible to facilitate at RTT and independent forums throughout the DC area. Cost for the training is $500, generously subsidized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington as well as the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Anyone interested in applying should complete this application by August 19th 2019. If you have questions, please contact our Operations and Programs Coordinator at Helen@resettingthetable.org.
The facilitation training begins with a weekend retreat followed by training sessions roughly every 2-3 weeks from November–March. The training arc is delineated below. Dates for some training components are set, while others (marked with an asterisk) will be scheduled around participants’ schedules:
In addition to the dates above, the training will include 2-3 online practice sessions via videoconference, occasional homework assignments, and regular check-ins with RTT staff to discuss the experience and receive ongoing coaching and mentorship.
What is Resetting the Table?
Resetting the Table (RTT) is dedicated to building meaningful dialogue and deliberation across political divides. Drawing from facilitation and mediation expertise, Resetting the Table’s trained facilitators and carefully structured processes support participants in charged conversations to speak, listen, challenge each other, and make decisions together with honesty, mutual recognition, and respect. RTT has provided communication skill-building workshops, multi-narrative educational sessions, and consultation to hundreds of communities and organizations, including 75+ college campuses, 25 Jewish Federations, innovation sector and major organizations across the country.
What are the goals of the program?
Building on our first Greater Washington facilitation training intensive in 2018-19, this program aims to produce a local bench of seasoned facilitators who can support the Jewish communities of Greater Washington to foster discussion and learning across divides on charged issues. For the past 5 years, Resetting the Table has worked with dozens of Jewish organizations across the country, including in the DC area, to foster a culture of dialogue across differences, especially on Israel. Amidst increasing political escalation and polarization in our culture, this program aims to expand the facilitation resources available to the Jewish communities of Greater Washington by building a local roster of exceptional locally-based facilitators.
Who should apply?
Applicants should share RTT’s commitment to building a culture of dialogue and deliberation across differences, by which we mean supporting open and direct communication where there is currently avoidance or tension over differences of views, background, or experience. Ideal participants will already have significant experience facilitating groups in professional settings (e.g., educators, social workers, mediators, staff managers/directors, clergy, etc.).
Resetting the Table’s facilitators help participants “go toward the heat” to explore their differences directly. As such, participants themselves must be comfortable with difference and disagreement and able to sustain connection and empathy to all parties as differences emerge. Seasoned facilitators must be willing to learn, practice, and employ a distinct methodological framework that may be different than the approaches they regularly use.
Those with strong roots and/or connections to one or more of Greater Washington’s Jewish communities are especially encouraged to apply.
What will participants receive?
Resetting the Table’s Facilitation Framework. This program offers one of the most intensive facilitation trainings in the country. Participants will learn RTT’s celebrated facilitation framework and receive hands-on practice and customized coaching tailored to their learning needs. Our skill-building exercises and framework provide valuable professional development for anyone supporting communication across differences or disagreements.
Our Support to Facilitate Dialogue in Your Community. When appropriate, we will support participants to utilize practice sessions directly in their professional or communal contexts.
Practice Facilitating Meaningful Conversations. During the training period, RTT may invite participants to facilitate live RTT programs at synagogues, college campuses, and Jewish community organizations as volunteer facilitators.
Alumni Network and Paid Opportunities. After completing the program, RTT will seek to invite alumni to run RTT programs as paid facilitators. When appropriate, RTT may also refer opportunities directly to alumni to run independently.
What are expectations and time commitment?
Personal commitment: Participants must be ready, willing, and able to participate in constructive, direct conversations across differences on charged issues and to collaborate closely with one another, even when they strongly disagree. This does not mean that they will be asked to check their own views and passions at the door. Rather, it means that participants must have the desire and disposition to engage across differences in the spirit of our project.
Time commitment during the program: During the training period, participants will be expected to attend all sessions (outlined above) as well as review and reflect on their learning goals and needs with RTT staff. A few training components will require participants to recruit volunteers to participate in facilitated conversations. RTT will work with all training participants to recruit volunteers, but we ask that you commit to helping secure volunteers.
Time commitment after the program: After completion of the program, we expect that facilitators will have the bandwidth, flexibility and desire to serve as paid facilitators in several forums and settings in Greater Washington over the next three years as opportunities arise. We realize that facilitators will not be available for every opportunity.
What do past participants to RTT’s facilitation training say about the experience?
"Even as a somewhat seasoned rabbi who has led group conversations in different contexts for many years, I learned so very much. My existing facilitation skills were honed, deepened and transformed. And beyond that, the unique RTT approach provided me with new skills, frameworks, tools and courage (!) to accompany communities I love through the profoundly challenging conversations they need to have. I've become a true believer that our communities need to do this work to become the best, strongest, most caring and effective communities they can be. With the aid of RTT facilitation techniques and guides, I know they can do it!" -Rachel, Director for Jewish Life, Georgetown University
"Resetting the Table serves such an important need in the American Jewish community. During a time of immense polarization and divisiveness, RTT is teaching Jewish leaders how to bring people together and build meaningful conversations through their differences. Resetting the Table shows how differences can not only be celebrated, but harnessed as powerful tools. I most appreciate how dedicated the RTT trainers are to helping us build these amazing skills and how well thought out the skills training was, how it all built upon itself and there was a lot of time for practice. I gained so much insight and saw just how incredible building conversation across difference can be." -Jen Raskas, Washington D.C. Manager, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
"We are at a critical moment in history, where we need to be able to listen to people with views that are different than our own in a respectful way, and have challenging conversations that will move us forward personally and collectively. Resetting the Table is providing me with the tools to facilitate these conversations. It is helping me to lean in to areas of discomfort so that I can help others find their voice and know that they are being heard and respected. They provide just the right balance of challenge and support for us to develop these skills in a thoughtful and meaningful way. I am excited to be on this journey with a wonderful group of DC colleagues."-Marci, Global Director, AJC Project Interchange
"This training was incredibly valuable, and made me feel as though communications and facilitation training is something every leader should have. Resetting the Table isn't just changing the way the conversation is being held, it's enabling the conversation to be held in the first place. With the confidence of knowing you can facilitate a group full of different voices, organizations can have the conversations they need to be having and were previously reticent to engage in."- Suzanne Greene, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Base Hillel
"More than anything, I appreciate how brave I feel after this weekend - something I didn't actually feel I was lacking! … My soul is so full after this retreat. I came home feeling the best kind of 'exposed' - where your heart pores are open, where you know you were seen and understood, where you feel brave and somehow simultaneously of conviction and humility. My listening ears and eyes are so much sharper, and I can feel my artistic prowess of conversation facilitation maturing. And so importantly, all this came to be in a gorgeous community of professionals (RTT staff and my fellow cohort participants) who I'm pretty sure are gonna change the world."- Meg Sullivan, Director, JCC Harlem
"Too often on the issues important to the American Jewish community, opinions become calcified, and there is very little actual dialogue within our community and with others whose perspective differs. Resetting the Table is opening passageways that have become blockaded and calcified, to allow for an honest dialogue in which participants who disagree have the opportunity to be heard, respected, and engaged in new ways."-Matt Nosanchuk, former Obama liaison to the American Jewish Community
“This training took facilitation to a whole different level. In charged conversations the hardest thing is to have the participants feel heard and still keep the discussion flowing. I learned the art of bridging ideas and naming the differences in such a way that it will take any conversation deeper. I learned more in this training than any other!”– Tasneem, Facilitator for New Ground, Muslim-Jewish dialogue group
“I can’t believe how much [our trainer] was able to teach us in a short time about how to create an environment in which participants feel sufficiently heard and respected to be able to share their deeply held views as well as to listen to others. Resetting the Table has greatly enhanced my ability to create a space where participants can have substantive, authentic and meaningful conversations with people whose views differ greatly from theirs, and for them to be able to listen to others and feel heard.”– Marion, Rabbi, Central Synagogue and Facilitator of Pastoral Groups
Common programs we bring to campuses and communities.
Building a field of skilled practitioners.
Teaching leaders to build a culture of dialogue and deliberation for their constituents.
Bridging American divides.